Incumbents get elected first
By Robert Noce
23 September 2016

This question was answered by Robert Noce, Q.C. in this Calgary Herald column.

At the election of my condo board at the last AGM, eight owners wanted to sit on the board that only allowed for seven owners. Six of these eight owners were board members from the year before.

Instead of opening up the election to the eight owners and have the voting happen all at the same time, the board president simply asked those in attendance if they could raise their hands and vote the six previous board members in first.

Then he allowed the two remaining candidates to compete for the last remaining seat. Is this legal?

No, the election process that was followed does not appear to be legal. To be 100 per cent sure, I would need to review your bylaws. However, I will say this: in all the condominium corporation AGMs that I have attended (and there have been many), the normal approach is that all candidates (even the incumbents whose terms have come to an end) would be subjected to re-election. The incumbents do not get a special pass or advantage in an election.

Helpful hint:
Your question did not say if you have a property manager. In any event, if the election was not followed in accordance with your bylaws, the result of the election can be challenged.

Three issues here
The Chair of the AGM was abusing his position to favour the incumbents. When the owners find out, he will never be trusted again.

It sounds like the six were voted in as a block by a show of hands.

The third issue is that it may be possible to have the corporation's by-laws written to make it legal to give preference to the incumbents. If so, then the incumbents, once elected or appointed, may retain their positions for life.

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